Constellation Musca

 

The Fly (lat. Musca) is easy to find in the southern hemisphere thanks to its 2.7 mag bright star α Muscae. In the constellation you can observe a galactic dark cloud that is referred to as the "coal sack".

How to spot Musca

Except for α Muscae, which is located south of Acrux, the southernmost star of Crux, Musca contains no particularly bright stars. With an area of 138 square degrees, the constellation can be seen in spring and summer. It is framed by the constellations Apus, Centaurus, Carina and Chamaeleon.

History

At the end of the 16th century, a Dutch fleet traveled to the legendary Spice Islands to create new trade relationships. Under Captain Keyser, the positions of 135 stars were measured during this journey, which were later included by Peter Plancius in his sky maps. From these he recognized twelve new constellations, including "De Vlieghe". A few years later, the constellation was recorded as "Musca" in the new Sky Atlas. At the end of the 17th century it was called "Musca Australis" (southern fly) to distinguish it from "Musca Borealis" (northern fly). Musca Borealis, however, does not exist anymore, its few stars were assigned to Aries.